- Longitude: 23.128616
- Latitude: -33.346662
About Karoo Angels
There is an angel factory in the Karoo. And from this factory thousands of angels every year fly to other places, other countries, other cultures. This is the story of how it all started.
The story begins with a small craft project in a tiny and remote village in the beautiful Baviaans area of the Karoo semi-desert in South Africa. The name of the village is Vondeling, the craft project takes the name Vondeling Optel Craft, and the year is 2006. More than 10 years later the Karoo Angels tell a story about how small feather and wire angels, 100% made by hand, could dazzle and charm thousands of people all around the world, and put a forgotten village and forgotten people back on the map once again.
Joined in 2015 by Rietbron Craft, the Angel Factory now have two branches, and under the name of Karoo Angels the two craft groups are embarking on a new and exciting chapter, set out to make the angels known all over the world.
Vondeling Optel Craft
Vondeling Optel Craft was initiated in 2006, as a community upliftment project, sponsored by Cacadou District Municipality (now Sarah Baartman District Municipality). To facilitate the craft project the donors appointed Craftpartner – a Port Elizabeth based consultancy.
Craftpartner consists of Gardi Oousthuizen and Hannelie Herselman, and besides the facilitation of the set-up and initial training, the two-women team were dedicated mentors for many years, and Hannelie is still very much involved, she is in more than one way the Karoo Angels “mother”.
After thorough training, including some testing of products, Gardi and Hannelie got the idea of a tiny angel made of meticulously hand-knitted wire, adorned with clear beads and sequins – and a pair of tiny feet peeking out from underneath her dress. The angel Justine was born, and she is still a beloved member of the Karoo Angels’ family.
Like in Vondeling, the Rietbron group is organized as a cooperative, also here 7 members. Initially the group worked with only wire – crocheting, knitting and spray-painting as craft techniques, with a glimmering bead here and there.
The Rietbron crafters have developed a uniquely feminine and light expression in their products. One is easily reminded of times long past – Grandma’s old crocheted blanket, great-grandma’s embroidered tablecloth, lacework and filigree, all of this made in thin wire of remarkable quality.
Please visit their website and online shop to view and read more about this remarkable project and while you are there buy some Angels.